Apr 15, 2022 | By, For Pet's Sake
Bring your new dog into the home they deserve
You’ve made the decision to bring a pet (or one more pet) into your home. Maybe you have a specific breed in mind, or maybe you’re still trying to find one that appeals to everyone in the family. A lot more than looks and size go into this choice, so don’t overlook the following areas of your life before selecting your next pet.
Are you an active adventurer who loves to be outdoors and go on vacations? Are you a homebody who enjoys reading and watching movies? Are you a parent? Do you have a demanding job? Figuring out who you are and what you can handle based on your schedule is vital to choosing a pet that you can care for adequately.
Some breeds need more exercise than others, and you may have to adjust your play style according to their size and the weather. It’s also important to remember that dogs can display destructive behavior when they are bored or don’t receive enough exercise. A busy schedule, especially one that requires you to leave the home often, may not be conducive to pet ownership.
Other animals in the home
Having multiple pets in the home may help your animals socialize and burn off some energy, especially while you’re busy or not present. The buddy system isn’t a foolproof system though. Some dogs “resource guard” their valuables, including toys and food, which can lead to fights if another dog decides to escalate instead of listen to the warning growls. Shelter dogs sometimes have experienced trauma in their past that influences them to act aggressively toward other animals (and even humans), so it’s always a good idea to ask about a shelter pet’s history if it’s available. It’s also possible that a dog has missed their socialization window when they were young, so they never learned to play with others appropriately.
Health problems associated with the breed
Not all breeds are created equally. The unfortunate truth is that certain dog breeds often have inherent health risks that they cannot help. For example, dachshunds and corgis tend to struggle with back problems because of their long bodies and short legs. Short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs usually have trouble breathing. Some breeds are prone to developing certain cancers. Research your preferred breeds as much as possible to determine whether you think you can handle the responsibilities associated with those breeds.
One major responsibility of pet ownership, regardless of which breed you choose, is paying for everything. Can you afford all the necessary vaccinations, pet food, and any medical emergencies? Do you have other pets or children in the home that will increase your expenses from month to month and from year to year? Are you living in a smaller place to save on rent? Take a conservative approach to your finances so that you can ensure you have a surplus available to care for a new pet.
The messy stuff
How do you feel about shedding, stains, ripped clothing, or waste in the yard? It’s certainly possible to train your dog to avoid jumping, to lay on the floor, and to go potty in designated areas, but they don’t come programmed to know how to do these things. Some valuables will likely be sacrificed along the way.
If you’re allergic to dogs or anything their hair might pick up while they’re outside, consider whether owning a pet is worth the symptoms you experience. Some people will endure the symptoms, others will try allergy shots or other treatments, and still others may decide that living vicariously through other owners is the best option.
Although certain guidelines apply to all pets, each breed is special in its own way. Try to match your lifestyle, preferences, and finances as much as possible with the breed you choose. Your diligence now will save you from many rude awakenings later.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet’s Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.